Fuel price shock! Zim's petrol price to more than double

Zimbabwe economic crisis Fuel price hike national strike and a new currency

Zimbabwe economic crisis Fuel price hike national strike and a new currency

"I think if nothing happens now after this ridiculous fuel price hike we Zimbabweans deserve what we get", said Hamukwandi Mungofa, a 54-year-old self-employed mechanic in Harare, the capital.

Shops closed in downtown Harare as riot police patrolled the streets and a military helicopter flew over the capital.

Everyone was astounded by the rate of increase and the reason attached to this, as we are at a period where, globally, fuel prices are on a steady and healthy decline.

The government has officially declared its anti-worker, anti-poor and anti-people ideological position.

Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa who announced the increase on Saturday night, noted that the prices were predicated on the prevailing rate of 1:1 between the US dollar and the surrogate bond note. "People are just stranded", he said.

The main labour alliance, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has called for a three-day stay-at-home strike as it said the government had shown a clear lack of empathy for the already overburdened poor.

Petrol prices have been raised from $1.24 a litre to $3.31 (2.89 euros) and diesel from $1.36 a litre to $3.11. "Workers' salaries have been reduced to nothing and our suffering elevated to another level", it said.

Evan Mawarire, a cleric and activist who led the 2016 anti-government protests that shut down major cities, said: "You have cornered us and you leave us no choice".

The president's announcement came after fuel shortages which began in October previous year worsened in recent weeks with motorists sometimes spending nights in fuel pump queues that stretch for kilometres.

"Is there anyone truly objective and rational who can sensibly argue that there has been any meaningful change in Zimbabwe since the 2017 coup?"

"You can also expect that fuel will now mostly be available, but then it will be sold in USA dollars".

Zimbabwe abandoned its own currency in 2009 after it was wrecked by hyperinflation, and adopted the greenback and other hard currencies such as sterling and the South African rand.

Industries in Zimbabwe have been denied access to foreign currency since October and companies have been forced to obtain dollars illegally on the black market, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries said in the letter.

Already the country's biggest company by market value, brewer Delta has said it would only accept payment in foreign currency before the central bank promised to find it sufficient foreign exchange.

The government plans to reintroduce its own currency within 12 months, the state-controlled Herald newspaper said yesterday, citing Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube.

Mnangagwa, who has pledged to revive the moribund economy, blamed the shortfall on increased fuel usage "compounded by rampant illegal currency and fuel trading activities".

This was the first time Mnangagwa addressed the nation on the growing crisis around persistent fuel shortages and Zimbabwe's worsening economic environment.